Local youth team wins Boston Federal Reserve contest

Local youth team wins Boston Federal Reserve contest
(l-r) Isabella Gonzalez, Bekah Givan and Giselle McGraw after their win at the symposium.
Photo coutesy of April Horton

A local team of young ladies did their community proud by taking home honors at a Boston U.S. Federal Reserve competition.

The group of three girls, 10- and 11-year-olds, tied for first place out of 17 teams in the Boston Fed’s 2019 Global Economic Symposium competition for middle school and also high school students.

The homegrown team consisted of Giselle McGraw of Williamsbridge, Bekah Givan of Clason Point and Isabella Gonzalez of Manhattan.

As part of the competition, which took place on Friday, February 15, the team was required to pick a global economics question, explain it, give examples, and then come up with solutions, said the team members.

The teams were researching weighty issues such as food insecurity, water pollution and air quality, said the girls, who chose to base their project on cybercrime.

Team Cybercrime Fighters competed against middle school aged teams from New York City, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The girls made a five-minute presentation before a panel of judges and a room full of spectators, first defining cybercrime before stating their solution of increasing cyber security and developing stronger global best practices, they said.

“These (solutions) include firewalls, cyber security, and implementing GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation),” said Givan, adding that GDPR is a regulation currently in use in England and throughout the European Union providing for data protection and privacy for individuals.

The team worked for three months on the project, meeting via video call on the computer application Zoom for 45 minutes at a time to go over their project and refine it, including content and slides, said team members.

The team members said they chose cybercrime because it is timely and part of their ordinary experiences.

“We picked the topic because it is in our everyday lives,” said McGraw. “We are young, and we use technology in school, for games and in our everyday lives.”

Conveying a lot of information in a short time period was a challenge the girls were able to overcome, they said.

“We had to speak so that people could understand us, and do so in five minutes,” said Gonzalez.

The girls went to the symposium before, so they had an idea of what to expect, but nevertheless making a presentation of this magnitude was something new.

“Since we had never done anything like this before, it was a challenge, and we are really happy we stepped up to the challenge,” said Givan.

Gonzalez added: “It was a great opportunity.”

The girls are already planning on competing next year, they said.

The young ladies took part in programming sponsored by World Of Money, which fielded a number of teams at the competition, including the other winning team in the girl’s age group.

World of Money is a non-profit dedicated to teaching youth about personal finance and empowering them with immersive classroom and mobile education.

“We cannot allow a zip code to define our students’ educational experience or what they are capable of contributing to our state, nation, and global community,” said Sabrin Lamb, World of Money CEO and founder in a statement.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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